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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


The Boat of Thoughts (vinyl reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

This is a newly released reissue of an album from 1976. The vinyl itself is heavy duty, and the gatefold sleeve with lyrics and photos is all class. The music here has a lot of psychedelia along with progressive rock. The vocals remind me a lot of Grace Slick a lot of the time. All in all, this is quite an intriguing set that is well worth checking out. It's the kind of thing that improves with repeated listening, too.

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Track by Track Review
Side 1
The First Flight of the Owl

A classic prog sound opens this thing and carries it forward for the first section. Then it shifts to a harder rocking jam with a heavier sound for a time. They take it out into a fusion styled movement from there, but then work back to the kind of classic prog that opened it as they continue. The vocals eventually enter with a cool rocking mode. There is a bit of a psychedelic edge to the first vocal section of the piece. They move it to a faster, driving prog jam as the vocals kick into the next section. There is a bit of a Jefferson Airplane goes prog vibe to that movement. There is a bit of a change again right at the end on the closing instrumental movement.

Kill Your Murderer
The organ and guitar really drive this piece as it opens. There is a real folk prog thing underway, perhaps calling to mind Renaissance a bit, as it continues and the non-lyrical vocals come over the top. Some serious psychedelia emerges on the jam that arrives next. Then the lyrical vocals come in over another fast paced prog movement.  An instrumental break takes us through a number of varying sections before the vocals return. After that vocal section they drive out into a guitar solo driven instrumental movement. The piece continues to evolve in instrumental fashion, at times making me think of Starcastle just a bit. That section eventually takes it to its closing.
If You Ask Me

Coming in melodic and mid-tempo, keyboards really drive the opening portion of this. Guitar rises up to paint lines of melody as the introduction continues. We're eventually taken to the vocal movement, a cool mainstream prog jam at its heart. This is more of a mid-tempo piece overall, though, so don't expect anything driving or furious for a lot of the piece. That said, this does get pretty rocking at times, particularly later. We get more of that psychedelic element at times. Some hints of fusion also emerge on the faster paced movement.

Side 2
The Delayable Rise of Glib

I dig the keyboard bit that opens this almost atmospherically. More powered up keys driving it upward from there. The vocals come in over the top and some other instruments join. The arrangement as this continues makes me think of what you might get if Jefferson Airplane and Emerson, Lake and Palmer worked together. As the synthesizer shines further down the road that comparison works even better. The cut has some cool shifts and changes as it keeps growing and moving onward. This covers quite a bit of cool prog territory before it's done.

We Are Losing Touch

Coming with a driving, harder rocking jam, as keyboards come over the top it has hints of psychedelia. I love the lines of guitar that rise up as it drives forward. There is a dramatic change into a different jam from there, but the general mood and spirit remains unchanged. Another shift moves them into the fast paced jam that serves as the backdrop for the vocals. A smoking hot instrumental takes over for a time. Then it drops down for a slower, rather dramatic movement for the next vocals. The backdrop on that is almost exclusively keyboards. A faster section rises up out of that, driving it into another killer instrumental section. That doesn't stay around long, though, instead serving as the ending.

The Boat of Thoughts

Coming in with more of a folk prog styled arrangement, the title track works outward from there. This grows more organically than some of the rest of the music here, with the arrangement just getting fuller and more powerful as it continues. That said, there is a powerhouse instrumental jam further down the road that represents more of a full change. That runs through for a time, and then things drop down to a slower moving, melodic section from there. Eventually it makes it way to fast paced prog jamming for the next vocal movement. It turns a bit psychedelic before it's done.

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